30 May, 2024


Buddhism, Sri Lankan Trump Supporters & The Pedagogy Of The Oppressed

By Thisuri Wanniarachchi

Thisuri Wanniarachchi

Thisuri Wanniarachchi

To all genuine followers of Buddhism, and everyone else who believes in equality, the US election was a punch in the gut. A man who ran on a campaign of racism, taking American jobs away from immigrants and foreign nationals, a man who took pride in not paying his share of taxes and swore to implement a regressive tax policy, cutting taxes for the rich, putting the burden of funding government on the poor, a man who was caught on tape talking about raping women, became the leader of the free world. In the first 24 hours following the election results alone, 8 American transexual youth committed suicide. People console themselves saying he’s not going to be as bad as he seems, but, within days of his election Trump appointed a white nationalist as his chief of staff. Since the election, in many states across the United States, Nazi swastikas were graffitied on walls, muslim, black, Asian, brown and LGBTQ citizens were harassed, and assaulted. In cities big and small all around the world, from New York to London to Tokyo, white supremacists have sprung up, racist hate crime reports have risen. On one hand this is going to be a painful four years for Americans and political minorities around the world. On the other hand, however, this may be the only way for those blinded by privilege and believe that racism, and misogyny don’t exist in today’s world, to get a front row seat to watch these issues unveil themselves on the centre stage of global politics.

The mind-numbing question remains: how is it that we saw quite a few Sri Lankans supporting Trump? It’s easy to come to the usual conclusions: these are people let down by our antiquated education system, people with little to no exposure to progressive politics, perhaps out of ignorance they found Trump to be entertaining. There’s the obvious factor of sexism; nothing scares chauvinist men, and women raised to be subservient to men more than living in a world in which the most powerful nations are run by women. And then there’s the extremely flawless, rational theory of our fellow Sinhala aunties and uncles: “Hillary took money from those with ties to the LTTE,” so even if Hitler were to rise from the dead and run against her, so be it, they’d still want her to lose. There is also the rational counterargument that we Sri Lankans lost our right to point our fingers to those supporting terrorism the moment we let our state kill thousands of our own civilians, celebrated it, and live in denial that it ever happened. But of course, no ordinary Sri Lankan would have the backbone to open that can of worms. (Appachchi taught us well.) For most Sri Lankans it was either one or all of those factors above that convinced them to support Trump. On a surface level, the explanations above make sense; it seems that Sri Lankan Trump supporters didn’t have the intellectual capacity to grasp the fact that we too are brown and fall under the same category of people Trump and his campaign claimed to be unworthy of equal rights as white men. As tragic as that is, it leads us to my next point. I do not believe that Sri Lankans supporting Trump is a phenomenon that merely resembles the level of ignorance in our society and how much more we need to reform our education system to educate our children about our history of colonial oppression, colourism and the baggage it has left us with. I believe this phenomenon resembles a much a deeper issue pertaining to a slave mindset nourished in Sri Lankans by decades of political, religious and chauvinist propaganda that convinced us that bigotry is a form of patriotism, and made us victim to authoritarian leaders who claimed to be socialists, time and time again.

The Contamination of Theravada Buddhismbuddhist_monks_protest

“Sri Lanka is a Buddhist nation” I hear this on the news everyday. It’s a tagline in our political speeches. Is Sri Lanka really a Buddhist nation? Somedays, I truly wish it was.

Is Sri Lanka really home to a population of people that embody true buddhist values and logic? Or are we a nation constitutionally bound to protect a doctrine that is easily manipulated and misinterpreted by clergy and others with political agendas? The answer to both questions above is “no,” but, we are incredibly closer to the latter than the first.

Buddhism, to me, is a very personal thing. It is a spiritual way of life that helps us through difficult times. It guides us when making important decisions and questions our conscience when we are faced with tough choices. In this world full of hate and inexplicable injustice nothing can calm your soul than the buddhist philosophy of compassion. Buddhism teaches us integrity: to be a thathaavaadhi, yathaakari, yathaavaadhi thathakaari individual,(one who says what one does and does what one says) to stay above the fray like a lotus in a pond, to surround ourselves with the right mentors and friends, ( asewanaacha baalanam, pandithanancha sevana,) to keep up with the times and improve our capacity of the Dhamma: Kalena Dhamma Sakachcha/Savannahcha (some tend to interpret this as merely listening to/ discussing the dhamma at the appropriate time, but I’d take it a step further to say the Buddha was intelligent enough to believe the world was bound to evolve and Buddhism should too, and that this clause meant that we should discuss the dhamma as it related to the respective time). In a country such as ours in which mental health is very much reliant upon home remedies, with a culture in which western medicine, psychiatry and personal therapy are almost unheard of when dealing with times of grave loss, trauma and other common causes of mental instability, religion is what most people resort to, for solace and strength. If you think about it, the true role of religion/ faith in holding people together, internally and externally, the grip it possesses in helping people in their most difficult times, and guiding them to aspire to be better versions of themselves in good times, is truly powerful.

In a nation that survived a 30 year war and two brutal insurgencies, we are a traumatized population. Religion played a huge role in helping our population grieve, endure and move on. The temples, churches, kovils and mosques often provided solace to mothers, fathers, and widows who lost their loved ones at war. During the black July, as some Sri Lankan families saw their homes being burnt down by their fellow citizens, they still believed that God-willing, life could get better, that they would find safety sooner or later if not in their motherland, in a land far away. On some of the footage in No Fire Zone you can see mothers, fathers and children praying to God, as shells poured over from the sky. In 2004 as the tsunami hit us hard, we resorted to places of worship, for strength; in times of inexplicable pain and violence, to many, religion was the only thing that made sense. Millions take their newborn children to the place of faith they feel connected to, to pass on the power and blessings of their faiths to their children. Religion is an intergenerational companion. Whether you believe in a religious faith or not, it is undeniable that the effect religions have on many people’s lives is truly remarkable. I’m not saying that religion is the only element in society that can have this effect on people, but in Sri Lankan society, this energy of faith is noticeably a powerful one. Buddhism, as the religion practiced by a larger group of the population, is no different. The power of millions of people’s faith in compassion, kindness, empathy and equanimity should amount to something: something worth saving.

For the longest time, however, Buddhism in Sri Lanka has been becoming increasingly politicized, taking away its power as a personal faith to one that is authoritarian, bigoted, and sometimes violent. Why is that?

1. For many decades the Buddhism curricula taught in Sri Lankan schools discriminate within the Triple Gem: we teach our children about the Buddha, and the Sangha but barely touch on the Dhamma.

Think about it: we learn more about Prince Sidhuhath’s life, his royalty, his journey to enlightenment, the royal stories of Buddha’s time: how the kings lived by the rules of the sangha, and the importance of royal/state patronage for the Sangha than we do about the actual Dhamma (which is the core of the philosophy of Buddhism). We also come across recurring lessons on the acceptance of social hierarchy: how those who had done good deeds in their previous lives were born to higher classes/castes and those who had sinned were born to lower classes/castes. How craftily they sew in such divisive messages into a beautiful philosophy of equality is astonishing.

This fact is not a coincidence. This is a carefully orchestrated pedagogy of a vulnerable and oppressed community, to manipulate their views on the world, politics and themselves; it has normalized classism, state patronage of bigotry, and made it impossible for Sri Lanka to maintain the required democratic distance between the temple and the state.

We are not alone; the only other nation in the world to follow the version of Theravada Buddhism closest to ours, Thailand, has done the exact same. They have used Buddhism as a tool to create a nation claiming to be a democracy with a population that obeys its monarchy, normalizes and accepts social hierarchies.

2. Donald Trump, Adolph Hitler, Ferdinand Marcos, and other leaders who came to power through racist ideologies tapped into an inner pride in majoritarian societies that gave them a sense of privileged security. They convinced their followers that bigotry was a form of patriotism. In Sri Lanka, a large group of nationwide Buddhist monks are doing the same.

There used to be a time when the temple was the cornerstone of our society. When a roof of a muslim home blew away in the rain, that family could find a home in the temple, all villagers regardless of their race and religion would come together and rebuild that home. We stuck to our original principles of: compassion, kindness and equanimity. But today that Buddhism no longer exists. Overtime, politician after politician, textbook after textbook have run the propaganda that sometimes blatantly stated and often subtly dog-whistled rhetoric that made the Sinhalese believe that they were the more superior Sri Lankans. When Trump did the exact same with the white Americans, it helped so many Sri Lankans validate these thoughts of racial-purity that had grown in them.

You Tamil Dog, I Will Kill You” earlier this week a Buddhist monk told a Grama Sevaka in Batticaloa. In the video footage of it, he seemed genuinely insecure, he claimed that the Sinhalese put up with the LTTE shooting at them, but now the Tamils are going to courts against the Sinhalese. When a population lives in privilege for so long and that privilege is normalized, another community’s demand for equal rights as them becomes a threat to their privilege and is misunderstood as oppression.

Sinhalese privilege is a sense of security that no matter what; whether they are uneducated, whether they go broke or homeless, they will always be Sinhalese, they will stand above “the others.” A false sense of security that politicians have used time and time again to manipulate these vulnerable people. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) movement claims that they believe Islam is a hateful religion that promotes violence, so in the name of protecting Buddhism from this violent religion, they took to the streets and set Muslim homes in Aluthgama on fire. Last week BBS leader Gnanasara warned to create a bloodbath in Maligawatta.

When the sinhalese describe Tamils’ and Muslims’ equal rights demands as oppression, they mean that it is a threat to that privileged security the majority feels. When men describe feminism (women’s right to equal opportunities and respect) as oppression against men they are describing that it is a threat to male privilege.

3. Racism is not the only kind of bigotry promoted by the current Sri Lankan interpretation of Theravada Buddhism: it fosters sexism through structural and cultural discrimination.

Although Buddhism is built on the concept of equality and compassion, the Theravada Buddhist traditions orchestrated in Sri Lanka enforce patriarchal values. Although it was Sanghamitta Therani who arrived in Anuradhapura with a Bo sapling of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi, over the years patriarchal traditions have been established to ensure that women are not allowed to step on the Uda maluwa of sacred bo trees (although men are allowed to.)

When Ananda thera asked Buddha if there was any reason women could not attain enlightenment and enter Nirvana just as men can, Buddha admitted there was no reason a woman couldn’t be enlightened. “Women, Ananda, having gone forth are able to realize the fruit of stream-attainment or the fruit of once-returning or the fruit of non-returning or arahantship,” he said. The Buddhist philosophy in its core never identifies gender roles, however, later interpretations of Buddhism as an organized religion rather than a philosophy, has enforced gender roles through the medium kumara and kumari bambasara such as women’s responsibility to maintain “purity.”

The election commitee for appointing the Diyawadana Nilame is composed of Mahanayakas and divisional secretaries of former Kandyan kingdom areas, however it is said that “female and non-Buddhist divisional secretaries have no voting rights.” In the context of appointing key Buddhist figures, our current buddhist administration puts Buddhist women in the same category as non-Buddhists.

4. Racial Segregation of schools is still a thing in Sri Lanka. And students who go to segregated majoritarian schools often have an awfully misinterpreted understanding of what diversity and inclusion means; somewhat similar to Trump’s rhetoric of diversity.

Unfortunately there is yet to be a desegregation movement in Sri Lanka’s education system. America’s school desegregation movement in the 1960’s to large extent ended racial segregation and majoritarian schools ie. “white’s only” and “whites only schools with one digit percentage for minorities.” There is a large portion of schools in Sri Lanka that are structurally administered to admit a majority of Sinhala students with a one digit percentage of minority students. Racial segregation of schools takes away students’ opportunities for social cohesion, it normalizes discrimination and enforces racial/religious supremacy as a component of one’s identity, the same way gender segregation of schools takes away students’ opportunity to learn mutual respect and enforces the stereotypes of masculinity and femininity and gender roles. There are strict religiously entrenched laws that protect the segregation and the existence of majoritarian schools in Sri Lanka.trump

Where do we go from here?

Trump ran on a campaign of bringing jobs back to America. The United States is the single largest export destination for Sri Lankan products with over 22% of its exports. If he keeps his word, (which he most likely will because he’ll want to run for a second term) think about all the Sri Lankan workers that will lose jobs, endure pay cuts and lose benefits. Take the apparel industry in Sri Lanka for instance, which constitutes 52% of our industrial exports market and provides direct employment opportunities to over 300,000 and indirect employment to 600,000 Sri Lankans. The American economy is crashing, and as described by leading economists in the world from Krugman to Stiglitz, the economic repercussions of this on both America and the world are infinite.This transition could hit us hard. Very, very hard.

People spoiled under a progressive wonder that was the Obama administration, who had the privilege of blindly claiming that racism and sexism doesn’t exist in today’s world, will be forced to change their mind. But it is also likely that many will spend the next four years in blissful ignorance, blaming their problems on women and minorities trying to oppress them.

If we do not rethink our education of buddhism, clean it where it has been contaminated and misinterpreted, Buddhism will have the fate of Islam in the middle east; misinterpreted, misunderstood, divided and violent. We may continue to produce hateful Buddhist extremists who rightfully misunderstand equality for oppression. If we do not desegregate our schools both in terms of race and gender we may continue to produce Sri Lankans who are blissfully ignorant to the concepts of inclusivity and diversity.

Now, more than ever, we need to rethink our education system and the values we promote through it.

*Thisuri Wanniarachchi, 23, is the author of novels The Terrorist’s Daughter and Colombo Streets. She is Sri Lanka’s youngest State Literary Award winner and the world’s youngest national nominee to the prestigious Iowa International Writers’ Program. She is currently an undergraduate student and full scholar of Bennington College studying Political Economy and Education Reform.

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Latest comments

  • 11

    From some of these comments one can see that there is strong affinity between Sinhala ethno-fascism and the Trump kind.

  • 18

    Thanks God we have young energetic writer who can wide our horizons. Religious misunderstanding with extremism is not accepted in any religion. I don not have any idea about half baked views of any comparison between Sri Lanka and President elect Donald Trump’s political ideology. This writer may have bought to our notice that media extremism plays wide role to breakup citizens into pieces. Even what I realised that we need to understand that every religion teaches the well being of the society. Therefore, people whom aware well being are well aware about world order. Therefore we should avoid capitalism of media extremism which creates further unfavourable situations in countries like Sri Lanka.
    I appreciate writers writing skill,not the ideological extremism. By the way I practically experienced for 22 years of reading, such beautiful autocratic articles were born because of state that the writer has no experience in real time scenarios.Writer may have studied in western philosophy with narrow minded expertise professionals on national issues of third world countries.

  • 10

    “BUDDHISM” as propagated by the “Clergy”; “Politicians”; “Craftsmen” and PRACTICED by the “Followers” ( a MULTITUDE) in Sri Lanka has been made a very “Lucrative Industry” for the entire BENEFIT and WELL-BEING of the PROPAGATORS. Unless and until this GREAT TEACHING is RESURRECTED and PROTECTED from the above mentioned categories of VULTURES, there is no way to establish any type of GOOD GOVERNANCE and a CIVILIZED SOCIETY in the country. The “Propagators”, (Clergy; Politicians; Craftsmen) I mentioned above are comprised of the so called “Educated Elite” and as a result that class has been considered and venerated as DEMIGODS who have descended upon earth to lead the followers to eternal “FREEDOM”. This is the “Dark Cloud” that has enveloped the whole country and it has virtually become the “PEDAGOGY” of the “SUPPRESSED”. A good indicator to this is the recent addition of “TRUMPAPPACHCHI”. Then the next best indicator is the case of a MP who amassed wealth that has not been accounted for and unable to account and charged in courts allowed by the Judiciary to travel to Japan to attend a Seminar on Buddhism. It is too exhaustive and time consuming to state here how this “PEDAGOGY” has taken roots in the society. To me there is NO ESCAPE from this TRUTH.

    • 3


      ” To me there is NO ESCAPE from this TRUTH.”

      Well said.

      What is truth? Is there a thing such as truth?

      Is it not the journey towards Truth which matters more than the destination?

  • 18

    I agree with Jim. This article is a piece of garbage. The author should have stuck to contamination of Buddhism. Touching on the U.S. elections and comparing Trump to Hitler and Marcos is pure stupidity.

    Trump was duly elected by the people of the U.S. The election was more of the rejection of Clintons and their corrupt practices than Americans embracing racism under Trump. They elected a President. They did not elect a king. We have three equally strong branches of the government here. The system does not breed dictators. If Trump wants to do certain things he promised in the campaign, he has to have the support of the Congress (people). I highly recommend the author study the U.S. constitution and how brilliantly it is done to separate the powers of the three branches of the government. Trump doesn’t owe anything to anybody, not even to his party or the lobbyists. If he wants to serve the American people, as he says, the stage is set for him. His party has the control of the senate and the congress. Obama started the same way. He had a decisive victory and the control of the Congress. But he burnt that goodwill in no time because he wanted to do things his way (passing of Obamacare). He will go down in history as one of the most ineffective Presidents of the U.S. I hope that Trump will learn from those mistakes and not repeat them.

    Then for the author to end the article with the notion that Sri Lanka may lose garment jobs to the U.S. shows her lack of understanding in economics. Can you imagine a situation where U.S. workers begin stitching garments at $2 per hour? Trump wants to bring back some of the the high paying manufacturing jobs that left the country like the auto manufacturing. There is nothing wrong with it.

    • 5

      Sarath Sathkumara,

      “We have three equally strong branches of the government here.”

      LOL! Garbage is all yours.

      For the record this election has placed total control of the government, executive, Congress, the Supreme Court in the hands of the Republican Party. A very dangerous organization.

      Good luck with those checks and balances you so keenly trumpet.


      where the hell were your 3 branches of government when George W gave marching orders for 2nd Iraq War?

  • 10

    “The majority of Sinhala Buddhist monks (the Saṅgha) not only opposed any meaningful powersharing but latterly advocated an all-out military solution. Such a nexus between Buddhism and violence is paradoxical; nevertheless it has a historical continuity. In 2009 when the war ended amid serious questions of war crimes and crimes against humanity, monks defended the military and its Buddhist leadership.”- Oxford Centre of Buddhist Studies

  • 10

    Sinhala racists who support white nationalists should get their assess beat by Neo-Nazis when they immigrate to White countries.

  • 13

    Very easy to put together words like in this essay (including the part on buddhism), No depth no real analysis and seems like the author and those who like her silly “Hard Hitting” style are all in denial. She seems to be blissfully unaware of earlier presidents who were rotten inside but had polished public images. I think Trump will find it hard to beat George Bush Junior in the race to be selected the worst ever president. But we must be tolerant as the writer is quite young. If it is true that we learn from our mistakes, she has a head start!!

    Now that I have said my piece I want the writer to know I have no animosity toward her but hope she will make positive use of the feedback from me. Hope you will be able to realize your true potential dear lady – though I (68 and counting) will probably be dead and gone by then.

  • 10

    Young Ms Wanniaratchchi has managed a meandering, rambling piece that resembles a curates egg. She is beginning to show the benefits of her time in an American College, so we must encourage her to try harder, dissuade her from rushing rushing to judgement, and discourage her from falling into the trap of comparing the US to Sri Lanka.

    As for the US presidency, the truth is that these are early days, and just like we got it wrong with the election result, it might be altogether better to wait and see than rush to predict what calamities the presidency might bring.

    As for the many Sri Lankans who chose the US as their promised land, sympathise with those who thought that Clinton would be their answer to a lost dream, and commiserate with those who hitched their wagon to the Trump star. NO American president could care more than a few pleasantries for such a motley bunch. Expect many to come home wiser but richer from their experiences. They will find a home that is fast heading towards a Bauddha-Sinhala ‘paradise’, thanks to an ever-growing rabid bunch of saffron-robed sub humans determined.

    What was the Noble One thinking when he entrusted the Sinhalese race with his precious message?

    • 0

      “What was the Noble One thinking when he entrusted the Sinhalese race with his precious message ?”

      He also said the Message will End someday – and where better to set it off on it’s Terminal Journey than by entrusting it to us and our Venerables ?

      • 0

        I am sad to think that such profound words from one of the greatest thinkers in the last 3000 years “belongs” to a race. Buddhism is for everyone. When I look at my cats they seem to practice buddhism. There are many other creatures who practice buddhism. I used to think that Catholicism belong to the Italians. The way the church talks about the vatican. That may ,however,be true-considering the amount of gold that the vatican holds. Just because some Singhalese possess written words of buddah does not mean other races cannot hold on to them too.

  • 9

    A very good factual article! Will it serve any purpose I do not know. I have come across Sinhalese who took pride of their Aryan descent and were openly admiring achievements of Hitler.

    That said I must congratulate Thisuri Wanniarachchi for her valiant effort.

  • 9

    I am happy to read some critical comments after a deluge of comments praising the article. the only thing I like about this article is the picture of the author. She looks so innocent and inexperienced in the travails of life that I started wondering – what is a nice girl like her doing writing such lousy articles?

    She should understand that this is like providing jumping monkeys the facility of ladders. There are more than enough Tamils and Non-Buddhists to cheer her on while laughing through their a—- all the time.

  • 9

    “The mind-numbing question remains: how is it that we saw quite a few Sri Lankans supporting Trump? It’s easy to come to the usual conclusions: these are people let down by our antiquated education system, people with little to no exposure to progressive politics, perhaps out of ignorance they found Trump to be entertaining.”

    Arrogance? Why bother with what the Sri Lankans thought, it reflects nothing on the US electoral results.
    Look at where you are studying? the (according to you) most racist place in the world, and yet you chose to hob nob with that elite and run yr fellow sri lankans down.
    You are educating yourself in a country which has committed genocide, periodically, used chemical weapons,caused countless civil wars,committed gross human rights violations,still is, and all in the name of fostering democracy to satisfy its unbridled greed for money and power.
    get a life lady!!!

  • 9

    Supported trump because not supporting his ideas but didn’t want to see a Hillary/Killary presidency. We don’t care about US at all we care about our country only. Because we have no idea to move to US. US needed a man who focus on their problems instead of others. A man who give priority to their problem who doesn’t give priority to bombing other countries. That’s why winning Trump is better than Hillary. And I don’t see any connection to Buddhism on this situation. I think you have another inside issue with Buddhism and Buddhist culture. And then you have take advantage of this situation to attack Buddhism. (Very smart move when you attacked Buddhist culture by using Buddhist philosophy itself). I can read your mentality and personality with this article. That’s why knowing better English doesn’t mean he/she is more intelligent. Just another person with language skills but no common sense. And economics are not need to depend on garment products till the worlds end.

    We don’t need to get decisions based on that one area we don’t get benefits. As a country we need to move on and need to do some sacrifices for better good. We need an industrial revolution in sri lanka instead of thinking about GSP+, garment factories etc. everyday.

    This is your point of view. You are always right in your point of view. And This so called educated commentators who bashing others in this comments while praising you are more hypocrites. Because they always think their point of view is very intelligent, superior and right than others who has an opposite opinion. What a primal behavior.

  • 5

    I live in California and I am a registered Democrat and voted for Hillary Clinton. Having said that, my analysis of the election boils down to three main things. 1. In the industrial Midwest and the Rust belt of the USA, jobs were lost primarily due to global trading and US companies moved their factories to other countries including China for cheap labor. President Regan introduced and President George H W Bush completed NAFTA to keep these jobs in the region. Mexico became the beneficiary and became the target of Donald Trump, easy scapegoat. He promised to bring back those jobs, but he knows that it is not possible. So the workers in those regions noted based on his promise. 2. Florida and 3. North Carolina went to him for different reasons. Latinos in Florida and Blacks in N. Carolina did not vote for Hillary in the same numbers that they did for President Obama. Those were the main shortfalls for her. Hillary got more popular votes than Trump did, but not in the Electoral College. People in US in general are not racists, but racist elements are there like in any society. When someone who appealed to anybody who would vote for him, those fringe elements come out of the woodwork. We will see where it is going?

    • 4

      Pakistani healing Dance you got your knicker in a twist because you do not live in the capital of usa??.
      differences between sophistication and obsession.
      Mexico crime connection: Have you heard of Democrat Surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy??The economic impact of drug and alcohol misuse and addiction amounts to $442 billion each year — topping diabetes at $245 billion,.
      Have you heard of Jesse Jackson speak to university student protesters:
      There are 15 million illegals and the Corporations are responsible. Helped by Democrats to increase vote base as in Europe.
      Indian power is not in the UK though the richest man is Mittal and the others are British Indians who arrived after Idi Amin asked them leave.
      Indian power is in the USA because they have gone there directly for almost 100 years.
      Florida:Do you know the meaning of Latinos and why Cubano Rubio won?? 31% of Cubans voted for Trump. Same language Spanish (with z not s) but different dialects and circumstances.
      The unswayables or the bowl 40% of USA. north carolina drugs and crawlies.

      “Hillary got more popular votes than Trump did, but not in the Electoral College. .” so what because Trump is a negotiator and canvassed for electoral votes while Hillary and you were cocky.

      Trump has won something like 2/3 majority in SL to change the constitution.
      GOP has 37 states and Dem have 13 states. now horse trading is on for just 1 state then it becomes 38 gop:12dems and that is 2/3 to change the 5th Amendment or any section with out fuss.So there is nothing for you to see for 4 years +4 more later. the creator of The Apprentice was working on it from then according to study being carried out as per discussion on BBC radio yesterday. So there were no maggots from woodworks like the disgraceful democratic protest-pride comes before a fall.

      This is what USA is facing: the last few hours I was discussing this with them
      Young Americans Geographically Illiterate, Survey Suggests- Roper.
      Americans ages 18 to 24 came in next to last among nine countries in the National Geographic-Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey, which quizzed more than 3,000 young adults in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States. Top scorers were young adults in Sweden, Germany, and Italy.

      Young Americans answer about half (54 percent) of all the survey questions correctly. But by and large, majorities of young adults fail at a range of questions testing their basic geographic literacy.

      Only 37% of young Americans can find Iraq on a map—though U.S. troops have been there since 2003.
      6 in 10 young Americans don’t speak a foreign language fluently.
      20% of young Americans think Sudan is in Asia. (It’s the largest country in Africa.)
      48% of young Americans believe the majority population in India is Muslim. (It’s Hindu—by a landslide.)
      Half of young Americans can’t find New York on a map.

  • 9

    Hi Thisuri,
    Not really going to comment about the rest of your article but I will comment on your insights on the fate of the apparel industry in Sri Lanka. Since you clearly aspire to be a better writer I suggest you do a lot more research before making general statements. Sri Lanka currently has no preferential duty schemes with the US. Therefore, the fact that Trump is not in favour of TPP (trans Pacific partnership) is a huge win for us as we had started to witness orders being taken out and pushed to Vietnam in the hope of TPP. Similarly if he renegotiates NAFTA and other trade agreements, Sri Lankan apparel will be able to compete on an even playing field (currently Sri Lanka has a huge problem getting higher end synthetic apparel orders due to a very high % of duty – most customers opt for other duty free destinations). Also if you think Trump will move low paying apparel jobs back to America you are deluded – I suggest you closely listen to his speeches. I am most definitely not a fan of Trump and agree with the general direction of your article but the blind comments really weaken your article and make it a lot less credible. I was a fan of your writing before but this year you have made some serious blunders and some very immature generalised statements with little or no research. I suggest you get back to the basics if you are serious in writing being a big part of your career as you are losing credibility with each new article.

  • 0

    [Edited out]

  • 3

    Listen up Thisuri, Trump is supposed to be an Evagelist but your heroine Hillary is a Foundationist. We all know anything should have a strong and stable foundation – even foundations. She had a good foundation for her Clinton foundation, built on the millions donated by the likes of Saudis and Tamil ‘something’. She still has. And that is why she can curl up and go to sleep, with or without another Clinton by her side to keep her company.

    I feel sorry about the Saudis and Qataris. But Tamil ‘something’ is another kettle of fish altogether. I feel sorry for our brother and sister Tamils here with us under our protection, who were forced to donate their hard earned money to the Tamil something, who in turn donated it to the CF to be lost forever.

    The Tamil ‘something’ wanted her to use the money to kill Sinhalese and their leaders, the way she got Muammar Gaddafi killed like a dog (Canis Lupus if you are scientifically minded). The French started it for oil and the Hillary finished it off with Gaddafi. Then to make matters worse, Hillary slept curled up in her bed, perhaps Clinton less, while her Ambassador was being murdered by the very devils she created.

    As someone said, I am not worried about the US. To hell with them. But I am worried about SL. I cannot curl up and sleep like Hillary, even with a Clinton by my side, while this murderous Tamil ‘something’ is plotting to destroy our country, our religion and even our own Tamil brothers and sisters. While all such machinations are going on, we find our own Thishuris unwittingly aiding them by publishing articles like this, just to show the proletariat like us how good her English is.

    I can understand how monks like Gnanasara and that monk in Batticaloa feel in this situation. Probably, like me, they also are too disturbed to curl up and go to sleep. No one in SL seems to be able to do that, including the Tamil something activists, who are having nightmares about the millions lost. In fact the only ones who seem to be able to curl up and sleep, Hillary style, are people like Thisuri, who, because she is far away from the battle field, probably sees all these as some Disney animation where the Buddhists are villains, Hillary the Fairy Queen and she herself is Snow White.

    • 7

      Edwin Rodrigo,

      By your own admission, you are a coward…and a racist bigot to boot

      • 2

        Lankan, Yes I am a coward, no doubt about that. So was Prabhakaran. The difference between me and him is that I have not allowed others to suffer due to my cowardice while Prabhakaran, the biggest coward ever, used men, women and children as human shields to protect his cowardly body.

        Yes I am a racist too. I don’t like Kallathonis swimming across the Palk strait and then trying to take a lion’s share. if I became the President of Sri Lanka, the first thing I would do is to make an underground barrier to stop the Kallathonis and make the Kingdom of Kallathonis pay for that.

        • 3

          What a joke… Rodrigos , deMels, deSilvas call “Prabakaran”, Wigneshwaren” like traditional South East Asian people as Kallathonies.

        • 2


          “Yes I am a racist too. I don’t like Kallathonis swimming across the Palk strait and then trying to take a lion’s share. “

          There are several solutions to this problem only if you sit down on your bump (not on your brain) and think about it:

          1. Relocate the entire island close to Antartica. (Beware there is an Indian owned and operated research facility base in Antartica.).

          2. Relocate the entire island to Pakistan.

          3. Relocate the entire island to China.

          3. Relocate the entire island to Moon (where you can get free rice).

          4. Relocate the entire island to Hela province in Papua New Guinea. (You can speak to them in Hela language).

          5. Take your people the descendants of Kallathonies back to your ancestral homeland in South India.




          “Prabhakaran, the biggest coward ever, used men, women and children as human shields to protect his cowardly body.”

          You forgot other bigger cowards, excluding them from your typing, the history is not complete:

          Rohana Vijeyweera
          Somawansa Amarasinghe
          The members of armed forces who were hiding behind VP’s bump during the occupation of North East by IPKF.
          Mahinda Rajapakse (hiding behind JVP)
          Gota running away from this island


          • 1

            RELOCATION: Veddah, if relocation is the right solution, why relocate the entire island? The problem is with the kallathonis and the Kalaveddahs. let us relocate them back to the Chola/Pandya Kingdom of the Kallathonis. That should solve our problem.

            COWARDS: None of the so called ‘biggest cowards’ hid behind human shields as much as Prabha. His human shields were tens of thousands strong.

            But then come to think of it, you cannot blame the guy. He was so fat and heavy that he should go down in the history of human conflict as the most perfectly spherical leader. No wonder, with that kind of shape and mass he needed thousands of civilians, in 8 hour shifts to shield him.

            The other problem was that no one could say where the front was or where the rear was. It was a positive advantage as a form of natural camouflage that prevented SLAF pilots from identifying which end of the sphere is to be bombed. But it was a nuisance for his body guards. Finally, instead of trying to figure out which end is which, they developed this strategy of having a human shield all around him. Let that be a lesson for our Para Sinhala Buddhists because there is no problem that you cannot solve if you work hard enough. If you cannot see the solution to a problem go around it. With VP, going around was not that difficult. It was a matter of only a few tens of meters.

            Legend has it that VP rolled when he walked. He rolled when he marched. He rolled when he danced. He even rolled when he rolled. Let us simply say that he rolled and that should cover all his movements except eating (to be covered in the next para). The man was a rolling stone and that seems to be why he gathered no moss.

            The other interesting thing is that whenever he rolled there emanated from inside him a sloshing sound, which his disciples initially thought was the milk of human kindness, which he had in ample measure. Later they discovered that it was simply the chicken curry that he ate during the last meals he had with those suicide bombers. With so many suicide bombers inspired by him and that many last meals he had with them, the chicken curry never had any time to digest fully. It is not the love for the poor suicide bomber that made him have a meal with each one separately. It was his love for chicken curry.

            It is said that after his premature demise there was a remarkable upsurge in the chicken population of Vanni.

            Anyway, even his enemies admit that he is a living legend even after his death. (Does not sound right, but let it go).

  • 4

    Is this woman in this world or another world. She is like most others partof a concerted effort mainly in this site to denigrate buddhism and to take the moral high road to gain political advantage. After 30 years of war this concerted effort is to balkanise sri lanka and to make it a melting plot of violence like syria , Libya, Iraq. so that the sea lanes could be destabilised.We know who is behind those conflicts This woman is a dangerous and is propagating conflict. Do not get way laid by the high moralgrounds she takes with her tender age been taken as the bait for her propaganda

  • 11

    Typical writer who lived among so called posh community who always follow western media and always get bluffed with it. So being anti trump is so natural when you follow CNN like media and get caught of the brain washes of that media propaganda. That so called posh community always so moronic because they always get decisions depending on “what is the popular opinion on society today?” because holding opposite opinion make them unpopular as they thinks. Media/Social Media is the key to make a particular opinion/person popular or unpopular in the society. so they always follow this media and absorb the popular opinion and holding it forever no matter it is right or wrong because it is the popular opinion and holding it makes them happy, posh , popular and feels smart. So that is the reality of politics of young people today. They have no vision and just have the desire of popularity and attention. A form of guerrilla marketing for themselves.

    This activities build like a chain and a trend is created in next stage. Then most of trendy young people follow that trend no matter that popular opinion right or wrong. That is how anti trump community is made. Same situation happened here in Sri Lanka also.

    Sad thing is wannabe journalists also falling into same bucket without doing researches.

    • 1

      This is really wrong. I live in Srilanka and Europe too. I know Germany, France, Italy and all other countries are no satisfied with the election of Trump as the next Prez for the states. It is simply becaause Trump as a leader:

      – anti foreigner in general
      – anti muslims
      – anti non-hetero sexuals
      – anti non-jewish and christians

      – his profile is sky-earth difference if one would compare it with that of Obama ; Obama is black but is highly welcome and respected in all walks of people in Europe.

      Also in SL, those who believe the ethnic issue of the coutnry is more influenced by Clinton than Trump are on the side of Trump. But many others would not agree with Trump for the above mentioned reasons

      Besides, Trump will not be a good prez – will surely end up in vain as Bush Junior – crystal clear to Europeans

      These are no my own thoughts, but as one who mingle with many nationalities, in Europe and Asia, I have a balaced view on this topic

      No anything else, but the traditional way of elections in the US, caused Republicans to get back to power. That is it.

      • 3

        All European, US and UK have the same situation when it comes to media/social media. For an example in sri lanka if you support MR publicly you will automatically will be a “Bayya” and nobody wants that label because there is a stereotypical negative attitude about it which is created by social media/media(that media mission ran for 10 years straight to socialize it since 2005). So everyone bashed MR publicly to avoid that label and tried to pretend something else instead of their honest opinion. All other reasons comes next to justify that behaviour. As an example the reason behind the trump hatred as you mentioned above, all are just covering tools for that inner desire.

        In 1st stage, media building the hatred by reporting racist news about him. Most of this haters don’t even know when where and how Trump said that things. Just going along with the wave/ popular wave and trend.

        2nd Stage, agents of marketing department of the opposition runs social media operations via popular characters of the society. Most of people imitate this popular people and then imitating is converted to a popular trend.

        Final stage is overflown hatred. This is the situation going now in US. That’s why only all urban young people protesting and other older rural people have voted Trump. Media runs all. Bankers run all medias.

  • 3


    Now about Buddhism. There is a difference between religion as an individualistic idealism, and religion as a functional religion for the masses. Isis, for example, desires to implement individual illusions/delusions on whole populations. But as Mathematics shows, the sum total usually has quite a different meaning from the sum of individual parts. Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.

    You say : “We also come across recurring lessons on the acceptance of social hierarchy: how those who had done good deeds in their previous lives were born to higher classes/castes and those who had sinned were born to lower classes/castes. How craftily they sew in such divisive messages into a beautiful philosophy of equality is astonishing.”

    Unfortunately, that’s what the Hinduoo brethren taught the Buddhists. For in true Buddhism, good deeds translate into a highly evolved caste of kind, good and equanimeous people.

    • 0


      • 2

        How is American experiment on Sri Lanka going ? I am so eager to find out the results of the experiments from you.

      • 3

        “”Unfortunately, that’s what the Hinduoo brethren taught the Buddhists.””
        because mama fed you bath guli??
        Trump plans to remove the sure start scheme and chances are you lose the job So the powerful Hindu Indian/American will drive the stupid buddha away.
        So get ready to go to mexico if they permit you- but I doubt because blood is thicker than name.

        • 0

          Give me Sri Lanka, my Motherland, any day! Trump seems to love Sikhs more than Indians.

  • 2

    Native Vedda: Thanks. Yes, the journey towards TRUTH is the most needed and important. Even Gauthama Buddha prescribed that JOURNEY in a Eight Fold Path. In this “Journey” towards the TRUTH there are, in my view, TWO ways or FACES in it , viz. (1) Conventional & (2) Ultimate. In the face of “Conventional” it is “Agreed” truth and in the case of “Ultimate”, it is the “ONLY” and KNOWN and EXPERIENCED truth. This face of “Ultimate” is ORGASMIC in spirituality and EUREKA in a scientific sense. That is only a “skeletonized” version of this subject of TRUTH. Thanks again for giving me a guide to state this brief note.

    • 0


      Thanks for your comment.

      I am sure we will continue to have this discussion whenever we get time.

  • 0

    Thisuri, we are a “nation constitutionally bound to protect a doctrine that is easily manipulated and misinterpreted by clergy and others with political agendas?”

    “Buddhism will have the fate of Islam in the middle east; misinterpreted, misunderstood, divided and violent.”

    No ifs and no buts.

    “concepts of inclusivity and diversity” is too difficult to grasp to a Daham pasala educated Sinhalese just as much as for the madrasa educated Muslim.

    • 2

      BBS Rep

      ““concepts of inclusivity and diversity” is too difficult to grasp to a Daham pasala educated Sinhalese just as much as for the madrasa educated Muslim.”

      Are you for a secular constitution or a Sinhala/Buddhist theocracy?

  • 0

    I am a Sri Lankan who supports Trump. But I do so for none of the reasons you have outlined. I am not racist, chauvinistic or nationalistic. I care for the well being of all.

    It is unfortunate to say but your information is extremely limited. You have possibly obtained it from American main stream, progressive, liberal media. The same media that did not foresee a Trump victory. Would it surprise you that there was plenty of opinion suggesting Trump could win? That Trump would win? Do you paint at least half of the American population in the derogatory manner as you have painted Sri Lankans who support Trump?

    Krugman, Stiglitz? Pshaw! These are two individuals who do NOT understand economics at all.

    If you want to learn the truth of politics and economics my suggestion would be to start with Ron Paul. Learn the other side of the story and perhaps you’ll then begin to understand the truth.

  • 2

    well written balanced article . my congrats for being bold and open.

  • 1

    Bravo, Thisuri for generalizing all the Buddhist monks and their teachings. I am disappointed. I had read your previous articles and liked the content and the flow.

    I am not going to comment on politics, but let me point out a couple of things you got wrong.

    1. Having a basic understanding of Buddhism is not good enough to make a media article like this.It is true that a female monk can achieve the same level as a male monk and attain nibbana, but it is said in Thripitaka that females are likely to be swayed by materialistic things and hence they have over 300 sil in contrast to 200+ sil for male monks. This distinction is clear. It is also said that you are born a female because you have committed adultery in a previous birth as a man.. are you suggesting that you pick and choose what to accept from dhamma.. if you dont, you have to admit that these traditional distinctions are there for a reason..

    also why don’t you have the same courage (backbone) to write about muslims and muslim schools?? how come your article doesn’t have a heading as buddhism, Islam ..etc..

    what you and many others have taken for granted is that because by typing in english you reach a certain group if people who share your views and not the buddhist majority or the common muslim minority.. It gives a false sense of righteousness. However, it is only valid if you can write the same thing about Muslim schools as well..

  • 2

    Thisuri! I had been pondering whether to make a comment on your article when I got a call yesterday from a friend of mine living in California. She is a medical professional, and church going devoted Catholic (she is NOT Buddhist). She is brown, critical of the Rajapaksas, and hails from a strong UNP family in Kandy. Thisuri! Do you want to know what she said about the election when I jokingly asked ‘how’s your new prez? These are her words:
    “I was a fan of Hilary Clinton when she first tried the democratic candidacy in 2008, but I was worried about her connection with the LTTE front organizations; why the hell LTTE has been trying so much to bring her to power? When I heard about the Clinton Foundation and how the LTTE raised funds under the banner ‘Tamils for Hilary’ my suspicion grew. When the TNA provincial councilor Shivagilingam organized the coconut thrashing pooja, that was it. I realized what would happen to Mother Lanka if this ‘unpredictable’ woman comes to power. Libya came to my mind. Irak with half a million infants killed came to my mind. I thought ‘Known devil is better than the unknown god!” So, I voted Trump!
    Then we continued our conversation and found out that many people in Sri Lanka were fully aware of the coconut thrashing’ pooja held for Hilary by LTTE sympathizers at Nallur Kovil, Jaffna. I asked her to read the following comment that I wrote jokingly about another CT article which would explain this situation better.
    “The United State under President Trump may tell you: ‘Hey man! Enough is enough! You guys played to the tune of Tiger terrorists and Secretary Clinton misguided by you had to go home empty handed because everything she believed and did backfired locally and internationally; example: she both loved and hated terrorists at the same time. Can you do that? Yes. Only a hypocrite can and not President Trump. Are you planning to do the same with him’? Forget it; he is not a politician and therefore he’s not a hypocrite. For Republicans, terrorists are terrorists and there are no good or bad terrorists in our vocabulary. And you guys also published advertisements, created and maintained Webs, Twitters, Skypes, Face books, openly called him names to ridicule his candidacy, drew caricatures, and now you want him to help you! Amigos! That won’t happen because it does not exist in his mandate! Hilary got UN organizations too to criticize him and a certain Prince of a certain UN commission called him a ‘dangerous’ man! We’ll take care of him too before he writes his next report about Sri Lanka. Mr. Thambu! If you meet President Trump his first question to you may be: “By the way what’s this coconut thrashing ritual in your freaking temples or churches called Kovils? Do you think that my head too is a coco nut to follow such primitive rituals? Man! This is serious! This is what I heard from my advisers who investigated your funny ritual and my advisers on this particular ‘coconut’event report: “Hmmmm….Very interesting…! It was announced that 1008 coconuts were broken by a Sri Lankan-Tamil (a powerful Tamil National Alliance member of the Northern Provincial Council) with his followers at the Nallur Kovil in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. He sought the help of the Tamil-Hindu Pantheon to get Hillary Clinton elected as the next President of the US. And we know that bit of hocus-pocus did not happen and the only thing happened was even Secretary Clinton’s close friends could not console her on that election day-night! A secret media report indicates that she sobbed, wept, screamed and cried throughout the night and that’s why she refused to come to the podium to address her supporters. It seems that this coconut-breaking ritual may tend to back-fire too; it has some rub-the-Aladdin’s-lamp-magic for the Tamil Diaspora. This is a bit funny ritual to us Americans; it is true that they killed thousands of innocent Sinhalese babies, plucking them off their mothers’ breasts and thrashing their heads on rocks like breaking coconuts and watching the blood ooze like warm-ketchup for the want for their mono-ethnic, racist, separatist Tamil state, Eelam. I know that guy ex-President of Sri Lanka Mahinda finished off those freaks called Tigers and the American navy too supported him who really appreciated it. Therefore, that mythical Tamil Eelam they won’t get at all and Americans would and should never support it’.”
    Thisuri! What else do you want?

  • 1

    “People spoiled under a progressive wonder that was the Obama administration,…..”

    Wow…..It clearly illustrates the foundations of Thisuri’s self proclaimed “superior” intellectual capacity which produced the piece of “pol sambol”.

    I would like to invite Thisuri to research from alternate sources about Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and 26 other countries to get an understanding of Obama’s “progressive” and “wonderful” drone diplomacy or research about the West Bank to understand the effects of billions of dollars passed onto Israel by Obama. Or perhaps check how ordinary black lives in America “improved” under Obama.

    I don’t think Thisuri has ever lived in conditions remotely comparable to that of Batticaloa under LTTE terror that particular Buddhist monk lived to understand his outburst many of us would quickly rush to condemn from our relatively comfortable surroundings. I have a little bit of an understanding through my relief work during the conflict days in some remote so called Sinhala “border” villages that were attacked by terrorists (would Thisuri allows me to label them as Tamil terrorists the way she seems to label others…..). To our luck Mahinda Rajapakse eradicated the term “border village” from our vocabulary though the current dispensation appears to be working towards recreating it through a new racially segregated constitution that strives to eastablish racially denominated bantustans in Sri Lanka.

    • 1

      All my knowledge about this lady is based on various comments made here and she appears to be someone studying in the US. If that is the case, the malicious comments she is making against the President – Elect Donald Trump are highly inappropriate. If we are a guest in some country we do not consider it decent to say things like that, against a leader of that country.

      In Sinhala we say it is like ‘kapu pathe paharanawa vagey’ meaning that it is like defecating on the plate you have eaten from.

      She should understand that if someone were to refer her articles to the US authorities or her college authorities, she could be in deep trouble.

      She pretends to be a Buddhist. But definitely not a practicing one. Buddha considered respect for elders a great virtue. By writing the way she does, she is violating all the norms of decency, good journalism and religion.

      With Metta I advise her to be more careful in the choice of words. Constructive criticism is welcome but criticism as practiced by her antagonizes a section of the readers and her targets if they were ever to read them.

      Finally, the anti Sinhala anti Buddhist crowd would love such things and cheer her on. But her interests are not in their hearts.

  • 1


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